Searching for a Job when you have a Disability… Don’t forget to include Social Media!

This post is going to consider the importance of including social media in your job search. The subject matter may seem a little untimely considering it is back to school season, but I feel if you are in the final year of your academic endeavour, you should start the job search now.
This is because searching for a job is not always the most straight forward process, and you can go through a great number of applications and interviews before everything works out and you are eventually employed. I would like to do 5 things in this post:

  1. Highlight how prevalent social media is among recruiters and employers globally and in Ireland.
  2. Illustrate how social media is being used by recruiters and employers.
  3. Share an article written by another disabled graduate concerning job searching.
  4. Share a blog post I wrote on AppleVis concerning job searching and iOS.
  5. Offer you a guide for creating a LinkedIn profile which I put together a few years ago.

Is Social Media really that popular among Recruiters and Employers?

Most of my academic activity has focused on researching the area of using social media in the context of recruitment and selection, and I have realised the said area comprises of a lot more than you and I using Facebook and Twitter in a leisurely fashion. A large proportion of recruiters and larger employers use social media to communicate with, attract, target, and, in some cases screen, perspective employees.
Furthermore, there are companies setup specifically to train individuals in the use of social media for the afore mentioned purposes. So, if you previously didn’t realise that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn actually have a purpose, they do in some scenarios.
I have included a table below illustrating the usage rates of social media for recruitment and selection purposes across the globe, and here in Ireland. Hopefully, the table gives you an insight into the popularity of social media among recruiters and employers.

Social Media Usage

So if it’s that popular, how is Social Media being used?

As I briefly mentioned above, social media can be used to perform a range of actions in the recruitment and selection process. One such task involves targeting perspective employees, and more specifically passive job seekers.
Basically, a passive job seeker is someone who is already employed and is not seeking another job, but the said employee could possibly be persuaded if the right employment opportunity came along. Recruiters and employers are essentially trying to access the highest calibre of talent which is available, whether they are currently employed or not.
This Washington Post article gives you a real-life example of how an employer in the United States successfully targeted a passive job seeker by using social media. The linked article is only one example, and there is a lot of anecdotal and statistical evidence that targeting passive job seekers is a priority among recruiters and employers.

When are you going to disclose your disability?

Quite a unique consideration for someone with a disability undertaking the activity of searching for a job is whether or not to disclose your disability. I have an opinion on this area, but I will address the official line on disclosure, and share an article by another disabled graduate first.
I would encourage you to look-up the employment legislation relating to disability in your country, but here in Ireland, disclosure of your disability is 100% your decision. The advantages of doing so are described in the following linked article, and I would not advise you wait until your sitting in front of the interviewer to disclose.
This Guardian article, in which James Gower, writes of his experience of searching for a job and the approach he took when disclosing his disability is very interesting, and I would urge you to read it. I am delighted James was successful in getting a graduate position, but I have to disagree with his approach to disclosure slightly.
While it is a good idea to disclose your disability early so that your interviewer can accommodate you as required, I think there is early and then there is too early. For instance, my CV and cover letter do not refer to my disability in any shape or form, so I have essentially evened the playing field between other candidates and myself at the application phase.
If I am invited to interview based on my qualifications and experience, I would immediately contact the individual who invited me and inform them of my disability and any additional needs I may have. At this point, I know the recruiter and/or employer is interested in me based on the information provided during the application, and I have informed the relevant parties of my disability after the initial decision regarding interview had been made.
This is the approach I adopt, and I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is for you to make your own personal decision regarding the disclosure of your disability, if applicable.
I should say, I have disclosed my disability up-front on occasion, but this has been when the application specifically asked whether or not I had a disability, and the information provided was not going to be visible to the recruiter and/or employer.

What about iOS applications, can I use them to search for a job?

I don’t want to seem like I’m blowing my own trumpet, but I recently wrote a blog post for AppleVis concerning my experience with searching for a job and the iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) applications I used. The post in question can be found at this link and I hope it is of benefit to you.

How do I Create a LinkedIn Profile?

In my opinion, LinkedIn is the main player in the area of social media and job searching. It is acceptable to search for a perspective employee of LinkedIn and view there profile, which is a task commonly carried out by recruiters and employers.
The good news is, setting up a LinkedIn profile is relatively easy and is free of charge. There is a paid version of LinkedIn, but it is more intended for the professional user who is searching for talent on a daily basis.
As part of a previous college project, I put together a Guide for Graduates regarding getting setup on LinkedIn and the do’s and don’ts. The guide in question was originally composed in 2012, so if any of the information contained is out of date I apologise.

A Guide for IT Sligo Graduates

As always, I hope the above information is of interest to you, and if you have any questions please get in touch.

Giving that U2 announced concert dates in Ireland today, and the Apple Event is later this evening, I thought what would be more appropriate than sharing a U2 song to tie-in with the said events? I will admit U2 has little to do with the subject matter of this post, but there are surprisingly few songs that deal with searching for a job 🙂

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2 comments on “Searching for a Job when you have a Disability… Don’t forget to include Social Media!

  1. Pingback: What do you get when you add Comic Books, LinkedIn Accessibility and AppleVis? | NiallJG91's Blog

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